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17 November 2021

AVIAN INFLUENZA H5N1 has been confirmed in birds at a premises near Kirkham, Fylde, Lancashire. Further testing has confirmed this to be a highly pathogenic strain (HPAI H5N1). An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across Great Britain effective from 5:00 p.m. on 3rd November 2021. The AIPZ means all bird keepers in Great Britain (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions. The decision to implement the AIPZ on 3rd November was made due to evidence from Europe and on avian influenza findings in wild birds in Great Britain. It follows a risk assessment containing the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice. The AIPZ now in force across Great Britain, does not include a requirement to house birds. However, this is being kept under constant review. With the increased risk of avian influenza during the winter, the need to include a mandatory housing requirement in the AIPZ may happen. Further disease control measures will be based on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice. In the meantime, bird keepers must:

  • keep free-ranging birds in fenced areas to minimise contact with wild birds, neighbouring poultry or captive birds
  • inspect outdoor areas, removing wild bird contaminants like faeces, feathers and wild bird carcases
  • fence off or put netting over areas of standing water or ponds
  • provide feed and water undercover, so wild birds can’t access it
  • make your premises unattractive to wild birds. Use bird scarers, foils or streamers
  • keep ducks and geese separate from other poultry
  • store bedding under cover to reduce the risk of contamination
  • clean and disinfect footwear before and after tending to your birds. If you own more than 50 birds, place foot dips containing government approved disinfectant at all entry and exit points
  • clean and disinfect hard surfaces regularly
  • clean and disinfect equipment and vehicles to avoid disease spread between premises
  • minimise the movement of people, vehicles and equipment to and from bird areas and keep records of movements
  • keep records of poultry, captive bird and egg movements
  • maintain buildings that house birds to prevent water ingress
  • ensure pest control is effective.
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